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Tuning in to TV

- - Sunday, January 22, 2012

'30 Rock' episode mocks star's stand-up gaffe

The NBC comedy "30 Rock" often finds laughs in real-life events in the show business world it inhabits.

But Thursday's edition targeted one of its own cast members, Tracy Morgan, who found himself in real-life hot water last June after making anti-gay remarks during a stand-up appearance in Nashville, Tenn.

On the "30 Rock" episode, Tracy Jordan, the character Mr. Morgan plays, sparked a protest after making a couple of ridiculous gay-oriented jokes at a club.

A contrite Jordan mistakenly apologizes to the makers of Glad bags, rather than to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, known as GLAAD.

Jordan's boss, played by series star Tina Fey, is forced to apologize for him.

"He's not capable of hate," she assures the media. "He's just an idiot who doesn't know what he's saying."

In real life, as reported by the Associated Press, Mr. Morgan publicly apologized to his fans and the gay and lesbian community for what he called "my choice of words." He denied being a hateful person and acknowledged that "even in a comedy club" what he said went too far and "was not funny in any context."

During his rant, Mr. Morgan had said, in part, that if his son were gay, he would "pull out a knife and stab" him.

Ms. Fey, who is also the creator and an executive producer of "30 Rock," issued a statement at the time, declaring, "I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian co-workers at '30 Rock.'"

Mirroring that real-life statement on Thursday's episode, Ms. Fey's character, Liz Lemon, chides Jordan by saying, "Do you know how many of your hardworking and dedicated co-workers are gay?"

Helgenberger gets ready to say goodbye to 'CSI'

It's not easy to walk away from a secure gig in Hollywood, especially one that's popular, but Marg Helgenberger is doing just that.

After 12 seasons the actress will leave the cast of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Her last episode airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday on CBS.

Miss Helgenberger said in an Associated Press interview that she's looking forward to time off, hiking with her dog and even looking for work. She also said she would love to appear on Broadway.

Despite her departure, 53-year-old Miss Helgenberger said she would be willing to return to the show for a special episode or two in the future.

"Oh, absolutely, in fact that was one of the reasons why it was a little easier for me to leave the show [was] because the producers said to me practically every day the door is wide open. ... If I'm available and I'm up for it, you betcha."

She said she is proud the show has inspired some people to become criminalists and said to fans: "You haven't seen the last of me."

She called the role of Catherine Willows "one of the best roles" she's ever had and "quite a journey." Looking back at older episodes, she said she likes to remember the crime that was solved, see who the guest stars were and marvel at some of her clothes and hairstyles. "Sometimes I go, 'What was I thinking?' " she laughed.

She has received Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations for her work on "CSI" and will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday. (A committee selects celebrities eligible for a star and those who accept pay $30,000 in costs and fees.)

She'll also remain in the loop with what's happening behind the scenes on "CSI" because her son Hugh is now a production assistant on the show.

"CSI" is known as the most watched show in the world and has received the International TV Audience Award at the Monte Carlo Television Festival. Miss Helgenberger said she began to understand this firsthand when traveling abroad.

"In the Musee d'Orsay [in Paris] ... I got kind of swarmed by people, which was so strange to me because just in these galleries housed Van Goghs and Monets and Manets and Toulouse-Lautrec and I just thought, 'Wait a second this is so strange.' But anyway, nonetheless, it was flattering and I was just kind of taken aback by it."

First lady set to visit Jay Leno's 'Tonight Show'

First lady Michelle Obama is headed to Jay Leno's stage later this month.

According to the Associated Press, NBC announced Thursday that the first lady will appear on "The Tonight Show" on Jan. 31, where she's expected to talk about life in the White House, her fitness initiative for children and her upcoming book about the White House kitchen garden.

She was a guest on the program in 2008 when her husband was a candidate and also appeared via satellite from the White House on "The Jay Leno Show" in 2009, the host's perch before returning to "The Tonight Show."

Tyler, Underwood to perform on 'Crossroads'

Steven Tyler and Carrie Underwood are teaming up for a special "CMT Crossroads" the night before the Super Bowl.

According to the Associated Press, "CMT Crossroads: Steven Tyler & Carrie Underwood Live From the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam" will air Feb. 4.

The Aerosmith frontman and "American Idol" judge teamed with the country music sensation and former "Idol" champion last year during the Academy of Country Music Awards. Their performance of "Undo It" and "Walk This Way" was one of the night's highlights and a viral video on the Web the next day.

They'll try to recreate that energy at a private event at the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis.

This is the second year "CMT Crossroads," which pairs artists from different genres, will broadcast from the Super Bowl Fan Jam.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.